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Daily Authority: 💵 Nova Launcher branches out

Nova Launcher gets sold, Samsung is offering Unpacked pre-order goodies, and plenty more stories worth knowing today.

Published onJuly 20, 2022

Nova Launcher displaying the home screen layout grid
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

👋 Good morning! We started watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the first time recently. Man, I’ve got so many other TV shows and movies to catch up on.

Nova Launcher gets sold

Nova Launcher with gesture navigation
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

One of the biggest Android stories this week is the super-popular Nova Launcher app being sold to analytics company Branch for an undisclosed amount.

  • Nova Launcher has been available on the Google Play Store for over a decade now, giving phones a more stock-like look and feel as well as a few extra features.
  • The app is available in two options, namely a free download and Nova Launcher Prime (a $4.99 one-time purchase).
  • The Prime version brings more customization options, the ability to hide apps, and more.
  • Branch, on the other hand, is a mobile analytics company. But it also offers a “search and discovery” product that’s bundled in phones from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, and Motorola.

What does the deal mean?

  • Branch and Nova announced the deal yesterday (July 19), and Nova Launcher creator Kevin Barry explained what would happen as a result.
  • He said Branch essentially wanted a testing environment for app discovery and search functionality.
  • Branch says a testbed was needed as OEMs were a bottleneck for testing right now. So having a dedicated environment to test new features makes sense before you deploy it to devices from Samsung, Xiaomi, and others.
  • The first Nova release with Branch functionality will be the Nova 8.0.2 beta. Expect “on-device shortcut and contact search” functionality in this release.
  • Barry adds that the current Nova monetization model (including a one-time purchase for Prime) won’t change and that he’ll stay in charge.

Any reason to be nervous?

  • It’s easy to see why people might be spooked by the deal, though.
  • After all, we’ve seen numerous cases of tech execs saying the right things prior to a deal.
  • What tends to happen is that the status quo is maintained for a while, and then the changes start coming in thick and fast when attention dies down.
  • See Sprint/T-Mobile and Facebook/WhatsApp, for starters.
  • For what it’s worth, Branch told Android Authority that it wouldn’t implement ads in Nova Launcher.
  • Then again, ads can be small fry compared to data gleaned from devices. So call me cynical, but I wonder what Branch will have access to as a result of this deal.
  • You can also take a look at our list of the best launcher apps if you really want to try something else.


🎁 Samsung has confirmed the rumored August 10 date for its Unpacked event: There are a few perks if you reserve a Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5, or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro device (Android Authority).

🌴 Here’s when the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will launch: Qualcomm has confirmed the date for its annual Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, traditionally the venue for its flagship chip launches (Android Authority).

Qualcomm has also launched two new smartwatch chipsets, featuring a 4nm design that should make for a much smaller, more efficient wearable processor (Android Authority).

📄 Internal documents show Facebook and Google discussing platform strategies: The documents also show how Amazon and Google coerced sellers and smartphone brands to support their own platforms and services (The Verge).

📱 Samsung may have killed the Galaxy S22 FE due to the Galaxy S22 Ultra: Bad news for those eagerly waiting for a new FE phone this year (Android Authority).

🐂 Wild bison have been introduced to the UK: The animals are roaming the region for the first time in thousands of years, or perhaps ever (Wired).

👓 Google will start testing its recently revealed AR glass tech in the real world from next month, albeit limited to some employees and select “trusted” testers (Google Blog).

Wednesday Weirdness

How crazy is this story? Blood from squashed mosquitoes reportedly led police to a burglary suspect. The South China Morning Post reported that a man broke into an apartment in Fuzhou, China last month. The man made a meal and stayed the night, using the occupant’s bedroom.

Unfortunately for the burglar, police found two dead mosquitoes and accompanying blood smears on the living room wall. The blood samples were sent for DNA analysis, and turned out to be a match for a known criminal who was arrested in late June.

The suspect apparently confessed to the burglary as well as four other break-ins. It kinda reminds me of Jurassic Park and the scientists extracting dino blood from mosquitoes stuck in amber. Just without the cloning business.

Have a mosquito-free day!

Hadlee Simons, Editor

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